Covid-19 unemployment payment to be phased out as 'not affordable' long-term

The Irish Examiner is reporting the Covid-19 payment will end by Christmas, with a gradual reduction from the current €350 a week. File photograph

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has said the Covid-19 pandemic unemployment payment will be phased out as “it would not be affordable to keep it forever.”

Speaking to Morning Ireland on RTÉ radio, Mr Varadkar pointed out that some people would be better off on regular social welfare payments, especially if they have dependants.

"The position, as of today, is that the PUP [pandemic unemployment payment] ends on the 10th of August, but it will be extended. It was never intended that it would just stop overnight, but that it will be phased out," he said.

It comes after The Irish Examiner reported that the payment will end by Christmas, with a gradual reduction from the current €350 a week.

The Minister for Public Expenditure Michael McGrath had earlier refused to say if the payment would be cut.

"Changes that need to be made will be made in an orderly manner. People do need to be given adequate notice of what are important changes that impact them," he said.

"A really important part of the package will be around the issue of reskilling, training, educational opportunities, labour activation measures generally. All of that is going to be part of the mix."

According to The Irish Examiner, a phased reduction of the payment from €350 a week to €203 between August and Christmas will form the bedrock of next Monday’s July jobs plan.

“Intense negotiations” will take place in the coming days to finalise the multi-billion package, aimed at aiding the economy from the impact of Covid-19.